Psychological Support for the Breast Cancer Patient

  • Donna B. GreenbergEmail author


Breast cancer treatment challenges a woman’s ability to cope and this chapter discusses psychological assessment of women confronting breast cancer. We review common triggers for anxiety and the effect of antiestrogen treatment on mood. Cancer-focused psychosocial interventions do reduce distress for these patients, but the specific benefit of diagnosis and treatment of major depressive disorder is supported by controlled studies in oncology settings. Both antidepressants and psychotherapeutic treatments are optimal treatment more specifically for major depressive disorder. The diagnosis of major depressive disorder must be evaluated with an understanding of other causes of insomnia, fatigue, and cognitive complaints in breast cancer patients. Patients with psychotic illness require interdisciplinary planning for care.


Breast cancer Breast cancer survivors Major depressive disorder Anxiety Psychotic disorder Antidepressants 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General HospitalMGH Cancer CenterBostonUSA

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